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Wisconsin’s State Parks Offer More Than Midwestern Charm

The frozen tundra of Lambeau Field holds the memories of the gods of the gridiron, matching strength and determination on Sundays. The picturesque streets of downtown Madison allow college kids to intermingle with craft beer enthusiasts and cheese lovers from miles around. The historic Pabst Theater in downtown Milwaukee contains the sadness and joy of the music played at the venue.

The great state of Wisconsin is one of deep history, culture, and memory. Few in the Union form such an instant and recognizably homogenous image in the minds of Americans when hearing its name. 

Football. Cheese. Beer. Music. 

Wisconsin works as a stand-in for all things Midwestern. The laid-back charm, the “come on in” welcoming, the no-nonsense work ethic, and the big-hearted family spirit define it and the “fly over” U.S. 

However, the Badger State offers more than breweries, football stadiums, and dairy mills. So, while a crisp Miller Lite and a bag of cheese curds might be prerequisites for any visit to America’s dairyland, these gems of Wisconsin’s State Park system also can’t be missed:

Big Bay State Park: Picturesque shorelines and stunning sandstone bluffs may not always spring to mind when considering Wisconsin. However, that just shows that its natural wonders are a well-kept but must-explore secret. This park on the eastern side of Madeline Island is a perfect example. It boasts more than four miles of unmatched Lake Superior shoreline for swimmers, boaters, and beachgoers. The peripatetic-minded travelers will enjoy the miles of hiking trails, and overnighters can camp at one of the large campsites Big Bay offers. A getaway to this site on the shores of the Great Lake is a must when passing through Northern Wisconsin.

Photo Courtesy Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Copper Falls State Park: A different kind of outdoor adventure awaits visitors to this spot near Mellen, WI. Its titular attraction draws visitors from nearby states yearly to camp, hike, swim, fish, bike, or simply enjoy the natural beauty. Produced by ancient lava flows, the deep canyons that make up the series of falls are as picturesque as they are imposing. As a bonus, stop in and learn about some of the log cabins on the property built almost 100 years ago by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Photo Courtesy Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources 

Peninsula State Park: This destination boasts as the state’s “most complete park,” and it may well be right. It has a little something for everyone! More than 3,700 acres of land are earmarked for this sprawling site, established in 1909. Visitors can do virtually most anything. They can swim, kayak, boat, fish, hike, bike, or golf in the warmer months. When winter hits, they can snowshoe, ski, sled, and snowmobile. It takes longer than a day to take in all this spot has to offer, so Peninsula provides one of the largest campgrounds in the area and is widely regarded as the most popular in the state. 

Photo Courtesy Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

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